Genesis 49:26 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 49:26, NIV: Your father's blessings are greater than the blessings of the ancient mountains, than the bounty of the age-old hills. Let all these rest on the head of Joseph, on the brow of the prince among his brothers.

Genesis 49:26, ESV: The blessings of your father are mighty beyond the blessings of my parents, up to the bounties of the everlasting hills. May they be on the head of Joseph, and on the brow of him who was set apart from his brothers.

Genesis 49:26, KJV: The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren.

Genesis 49:26, NASB: The blessings of your father Have surpassed the blessings of my ancestors Up to the furthest boundary of the everlasting hills; May they be on the head of Joseph, And on the top of the head of the one distinguished among his brothers.

Genesis 49:26, NLT: May the blessings of your father surpass the blessings of the ancient mountains, reaching to the heights of the eternal hills. May these blessings rest on the head of Joseph, who is a prince among his brothers.

Genesis 49:26, CSB: The blessings of your father excel the blessings of my ancestors and the bounty of the ancient hills. May they rest on the head of Joseph, on the brow of the prince of his brothers.

What does Genesis 49:26 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Jacob is dying (Genesis 48:1). He has called his twelve sons to his bedside and delivered, in poetic verse, an oracle prophesying what will become of each of their future tribes (Genesis 49:1–2). Jacob's oracle about Joseph concludes in this verse. In some ways, this strongly resembles the official, formal family blessing handed down from Abraham, to Isaac, to Jacob, and now to Joseph.

God's blessings on Jacob are depicted in grand terms. Depending on the translation, his blessings have been greater than the blessings of his parents or greater than the blessings of his ancestors or perhaps greater than the blessings of "the ancient mountains" themselves. God had certainly blessed Jacob with more children than either of the two previous generations of his fathers. Jacob goes on, saying the blessings of his life have been greater even than the bounty or the riches to be found in the "everlasting hills." The hills of Canaan would have been rich with precious minerals, perhaps, as well as being blessed by God with vegetation in the summer.

With some of his last words, Jacob offers Joseph evidence of God's faithfulness and power: his own life story. Then Jacob declares these blessings will be on the head of Joseph. Jacob is placing the family blessing, which is the very blessing of God, on Joseph's head as a crown. Some translators see Jacob concluding by calling Joseph the "prince among his brothers" (NIV). Others read the Hebrew to describe Joseph as the one who was "set apart from his brothers" (ESV), referring to his years apart from the family in Egypt.

In either case, the possible use of "prince" did not mean that Joseph's descendants would become royalty over Israel themselves. That was the destiny of Judah's people (Genesis 49:10). Instead, it would have been abundantly clear to all gathered around Jacob that he was passing the official blessing to his beloved Joseph.